In-car vacuum cleaner mini test

23 May, 2012 7:00am

We test the new in-car vacuum cleaner from Dyson to find out how it compares to our current best buy

Cleaning up crumbs in your car is simple with a dedicated vacuum cleaner. There’s no need to drag the household vac to your driveway, as the latest handhelds are small enough to be left in the boot for use away from the mains.

Dyson’s updated Animal DC34 has a motorised brush head for picking up pet hair, plus its digital motor claims to spin five times faster than an F1 engine. We put it up against our current favourite: the Halfords 12V Car Vacuum.

Our road test team loves these vacs, and we tested them on cars ahead of a photoshoot. We used them to shift dog hairs from the boot, biscuit crumbs from the driver’s seat and muck from the footwell. Plus, we counted the attachments included and rated suction over a section of carpet. Price was also a factor.

The Dyson’s suction is second to none, plus it’s easy to empty. Battery life is limited, though, and it’s just too pricey. So the Halfords is still best for clearing up on the go. Unlike the Dyson, it’s not cordless, but there’s a long 12-volt cable and it also has three attachments.

Money no object: Dyson DC34 Animal

Price: £179.99

Dyson DC34 Animal
The Dyson scores on form and function. Although it’s a bit bulky, the bin for crumbs is large and simple to empty – just flick the red switch on the base. A boost button on the back gives extra suction for ground-in dirt, but you won’t need it as there’s plenty of power on tap as standard. This vac isn’t perfect, though, with battery life letting it down: in normal mode it lasts a maximum of 15 minutes, but press the boost button and you’ll only get six minutes’ usage. You can charge and vacuum at the same time, although Dyson only includes a mains charger in the package. And while you get £60 worth of accessories, that £180 price tag is far too high.

Best buy: Halfords 12V Car Vacuum

Price: £19.99

Halfords 12V Car Vacuum
Chain store giant Halfords won our Issue 1,136 test with this simple and well priced handheld. The 12V Car Vacuum doesn’t have the suction of the Dyson and the needle nose attachment is half the size of the one with the DC34, so you may struggle to suck up dirt between seats. But it managed to remove all our biscuit crumbs from the seat, and while the mechanism to open the bin isn’t as slick as the Dyson’s, it doesn’t make emptying dirt a difficult task. Although both vacuums have the same amount of attachments, the Halfords does without a motorised brush head attachment for pet hair, and isn’t cordless, either. Yet the four-metre 12-volt lead enables you to reach the entire car without running out of cable. Bargain price seals the win – you could buy nine of these £20 vacs for one Dyson.